Distributed Learning (DL) is an educational and formational model that allows members of a learning community (students, faculty, and staff) to access content and community life while being located in different, non-centralized locations. Elements may occur synchronously (at the same time from either the same or different places/spaces) and/or asynchronously (at different times from the same place or different places/spaces).
Distributive Learning provides access to community events and resources and includes a variety of course models including
Most academic institutions use a Learning Management System (LMS) to provide students staff, and faculty centralized access to what they need for teaching and learning. These generally require login with a username and password to restrict access to registered users. Typical features are:
Course Management (catalogue of courses, mechanism to register, prerequisites, credit information)
Teaching Materials (syllabus, text and multi-mediated course content, etc.)
Communications Technologies (asynchronous tools like emails, forums, threaded discussions, and voice-threads as well as synchronous tools including chat, audio teleconferencing, and web conferencing)
Assessment and Evaluation Tools (self-tests, quizzes, progress tracking, student response systems, eportfolio, course evaluation surveys, etc)
Administrative Tools (student progress tracking, assignment management, online grading)
Beyond the features native to a particular LMS or external options that can be integrated into it. there are also freestanding web-based resources that cannot be integrated into a school’s LMS. Faculty and Information Technology/Educational Technology staff need to work collaborately to ensure that teaching/learning goals direct technology choices. Ideally, faculty should identify the FUNCTIONS they need to effectively achieve their learning outcomes and IT/ET staff should recommend options that are compatible with a school’s resources.